Have tyou ever imagined you would one day wake up to news that technology is influencing an industry as offbeat as fashion? Well, here we are in this phase of tech evolution, where we would soon get to wear apparel not from clothing lines like Gucci or Saint Laurent but probably from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google or more.
Yes, smart clothing seems to be the future of wearable technology that kickstarted with ambitious projects like Google Glass. Today, we have first generation Iot wearable technology devices like smartwatches, health monitors, FitBits and more but soon, we will have clothing with embedded sensors that will connect to the internet.
Wearable fashion or smart clothing will be part of the Internet of Things revolution and soon give us insights on our vitals, temperature, hydration levels and bring in a range of predictive analytics concepts into our everyday life.
We are, too and that’s why we decided to publish a post that explores what smart clothing is and how it is redefining conventions.
Let’s get started.
Smart Clothing Is The Future Of The Wearables Industry
Let’s start with some numbers. Statistics from the World Economic Forum revealed that around 10% of the people around the world will wear clothes that connect to the internet by 2025.
This is a really good sign for the smart wearable technology industry. And if you’ve been wondering if this concept is something new or fresh, it’s not. Smart clothing has been a micro niche for a long time with several sports companies like Nike and Adidas rolling out very specific lines of smart clothes for sports purposes. What is new is the approach of mainstream commercialization of smart clothing.
The idea is to embed IoT-specific peripherals like sensors, batteries and more into the fabric of clothes and connect the entire ecosystem to an app for visualization of diverse insights. With the app, consumers can also execute a couple of fancy actions like changing the design or color of their apparel in real time, change hues and do more.
To give you a quick idea of how remarkable the concept of smart clothing is, here are some pointers:
Smart clothing is highly beneficial in keeping track of vitals in people. Technology is also being developed to monitor the accumulation of brain fluids in real time and report stakeholders and doctors about consequences.
- The predominant use of smart clothing lies in the sports industry, where several metrics could be monitored by coaches of individual players and the entire team to reach fitness and tournament goals.
- From a manufacturer’s perspective, fraudulent and unauthentic copies of labels and apparels can be eliminated from the market through codes and layered validation mechanisms.
- Patients in hospitals could wear smart clothing to track their recovery, reactions to medications, notify or call for nurses and doctors and more.
- People suffering from dementia or Alzheimers could sport smart dresses to enable their friends and families to track them from a distance.
- Adventurers, spelunkers, high-altitude trekkers and more could also benefit from smart clothing with details on oxygen levels, anticipated temperature, location tracking modules, hydration levels, humidity sensors and more.
Though this looks futuristic and ambitious, the biggest challenge for the smart clothing companies would be to incorporate IoT solutions into their fabrics. The human body consistently generates sweat and heat and there are chances that water from sweat could damage batteries or sensors embedded in the clothes. When we fix these concerns and deliver optimized outfits, smart clothes could very well be what we wear to work every day in the coming years.
Smart Fashion Products In The Market
Like we mentioned, smart clothes are in development and some products are actually available in the market as prototypes. Tons of Kickstarter campaigns are exploring the limitless possibilities of smart fashion as well. For a better clarity on what the products are, here are some real world examples.
The best product in development is the smart jacket. Since 2015, two market players - Google and Levi’s - have been collaborating to launch smart jackets with touch-sensitive fabric. In this, capacitive threads made of copper have been developed and used as the jacket’s fabric to allow users to use their smartphones by just using their hands and gestures.
Minority Report vibes anyone?
An inevitable accessory, socks have always been in our wardrobes.Smart socks are here to replace the conventional ones and give you a more immersive experience.
What could be immersive in socks you ask?
Well, smart socks could sense the pressure you put on your foot when walking, calculate your walking speed, the distance you cover (and could cover) and offer a detailed visualization of insights from multiple data points. This could influence the way you walk as well.
If we’re making our socks smart, why leave behind shoes? Somebody out there had a similar thought and the result is a pair of shoes that tracks your fitness, speed, pressure and most importantly, lets you control your television using your feet. All you have to do is extend your foot, point at something on your television and press a button. We’re sure there would be more experiences added to the product as it evolves.
Sleep has always been a concern for most of us. While some of us oversleep, a few of us hardly get good sleep. There are tons of factors influencing our sleep including our sleeping positions, stress and anxiety levels and more.
Smart sleepwear, however, is here to fix our broken and disconnected sleep patterns by giving us insights on breathing, heart rates, sleep positions and more. The best part is that you don’t have to wear an additional wristband for this. The fabric has embedded devices that take care of its intended purposes.
Is Smart Clothing The New-Age Market Wearable?
Wearable tech plays a crucial role in the tech space because it’s probably something that could be the most integral to people. Conventional wearable technology devices like wristbands, smartwatches, eyewear and more appear and function as extensions but that’s not the case with clothing.
It is us and who we are. From a consumer’s perspective, there’s no challenge involved whatsoever in maintaining smart clothes. It’s on companies to develop and launch products that could take in the regular wear and tear of humans and be resistive to it, be washable and more.
If these preliminary challenges are taken care of seamlessly by companies, smart clothing could easily become the new-age market wearables in the future. It’s similar to what electric vehicles are to the automotive industry.
This is an exciting time to be alive and innovations like these are proof of our collective wisdom taking us to a new level. Let’s wait and see if our favorite clothing brands join the smart clothing bandwagon and launch personalized clothing just the way we would like it individually. Also, let’s see what more innovation is waiting on the cards in this space.